The Benefits of Aquatic Hyphomycetes in Blackwater Aquariums

The Role of Aquatic Hyphomycetes in Maintaining a Healthy Blackwater Aquarium

Aquatic hyphomycetes in a blackwater aquarium and botanical method aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Have you heard of aquatic hyphomycetes? If not, you're in for a treat! These tiny fungi may not be the most glamorous inhabitants of your blackwater aquarium, but they play a crucial role in the health and balance of your tank.


Aquarium mold on drift wood in a blackwater aquarium and botanical method aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Is this Mold in my Fish Tank?

As you begin to build the ecosystem of your botanical method aquarium or blackwater aquarium, a lot of life begins to show up. But some of the life which you probably have never seen in an aquarium before. However, white growths on aquarium leaves and seed pods, plant roots, or driftwood are not one of those things you should be afraid of. Often categorized into aquatic hyphomycetes, different from biofilms, aquarium mold play a similar beneficial part of the food web and are a great indication of good water conditions.

White growths on drift wood in a botanical method aquarium and blackwater aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Why These Tiny Fungi are an Essential Part of Your Aquatic Ecosystem

The molds in our fish tanks sometimes present themselves in unattractive ways and often have us grabbing our aquarium siphon or toothbrush to remove them. Now is when I tell you it’s all part of the ecosystem and you really shouldn’t do it, and I am also going to tell you that the fungi you are seeing are actually amphibious, meaning it came from outside your aquarium in a terrestrial environment from spores floating through the air. Don’t panic though, this is all completely natural. 

How Aquatic Hyphomycetes Help to Break Down Organic Matter and Keep Water Quality High

One of the key functions of aquatic hyphomycetes is to help break down organic matter in blackwater aquariums. They consume dead plant material, the lignin based structures of leaf litter, and other forms of waste, helping to keep the water clean, but not clear... because botanical method aquariums and blackwater aquariums are tinted! This is important for the overall health of your fish, as excess organics can lead to poor water quality and create an unhealthy environment.

Green aquatic hyphomycetes in a blackwater aquarium and botanical method aquarium by Betta Botanicals.

Photo by Calvin Darling @cd_scapes


The Benefits of Allowing Aquatic Hyphomycetes to Thrive in Your Tank

In addition to aquatic hyphomycetes role in waste management, aquatic hyphomycetes also provide food sources to other organisms in the aquarium. Certain species of fish and invertebrates are known to graze on these aquatic fungi, making them an important part of the food chain. Ever wondered why seed shrimp, daphnia, or detritus worms thrive in blackwater aquariums? It creates a layer of the ecosystem often missing from standard aquariums.


The Importance of Maintaining a Diverse Ecosystem in Your Blackwater Aquarium

So, the next time you see a little bit of fungus growing on a leaf or piece of driftwood in your blackwater aquarium, don't throw your arms up in a manic panic. Aquatic hyphomycetes are an important member of the ecosystem and are helping to keep your tank healthy and balanced. Embrace the diversity of life in your blackwater aquarium and enjoy the benefits of a holistic ecosystem!